David Huffman

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David Huffman
David Oliver Huffman

(1945-05-10)May 10, 1945
DiedFebruary 27, 1985(1985-02-27) (aged 39)
Cause of deathHomicide
Resting placeForest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills
Years active1969–1985
Phyllis Huffman (m. 1967)
ChildrenPhilip Huffman Matt Huffman

David Oliver Huffman (May 10, 1945 – February 27, 1985) was an American actor.

Personal life[edit]

Huffman was born on May 10, 1945 in Berwyn, Illinois, to Clarence and Opal Huffman (née Dippel).

Huffman married casting director Phyllis Huffman (nee Grennan) in 1967,[1] they met as students whilst studying at Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri; the couple had two sons and remained married until Huffman's death in 1985.

An interview in The New York Times dated JULY 28, 1978, reported that Huffman would spend his mornings taking care of his 2‐year‐old son Matt, and devoted most afternoons to his 25‐foot sloop, the Frisco Flyer. “I'm heavily into sailing,” he confides.

When he's not working; he adds, his energies express themselves in other outlets. “I have a strong creative impulse, and if I don't act it'll come out in some other area.” A recreational painter, Mr. Huffman does oils and watercolors, plays country‐and‐western guitar, writes music and occasional “terrible poetry.” [2]


On the morning February 27, 1985, Huffman was fatally stabbed by a suspected burglar in San Diego; the suspected burglar, a 16-year-old named Genaro Samano Villanueva, had been living in San Diego with family members for approximately five months. He had dropped out of high school but re-enrolled and was due to return to school on February 27. Earlier that morning, Villanueva was taken into custody by police after attempting to steal a radio from a car near his home on India Street. Police released Villanueva into the custody of the vice principal of his high school and told him to return to class. Instead, Villanueva left school and went to Balboa Park where he was spotted by Canadian tourist Jack Beamer. Beamer, his wife and another couple were visiting San Diego and staying in motor homes at the park. Beamer saw Villanueva prowling around inside his friends' motor home and yelled at him causing Villanueva to flee the scene.[3]

At the time of his death, David Huffman was appearing in the play Of Mice and Men at the Old Globe Theatre, he had visited the theatre shortly before noon to share cookies with the cast and crew.[2] Huffman was sitting in his van near the theatre playing his bagpipes when he saw Beamer yell at Villanueva, he then gave chase in his vehicle before parking the van near the Spreckels Organ Pavilion and following Villanueva into the park. Huffman eventually caught up with the suspect and the two got into a physical altercation during which Villanueva stabbed Huffman twice in the chest with a screwdriver. Huffman died of exsanguination in 30 to 45 seconds.[3] Huffman's body was found at 1:09 pm. less than an hour later in a crevice in Palm Canyon by a group of children visiting the park on a field trip. As he was not carrying identification at the time of his death, Huffman's body was not positively identified until later that night.[2] Police initially had no leads and on March 2 and 3, Crime Stoppers produced a reenactment of the crime, it was shown on San Diego television and published in several national newspapers. The Canadian tourists whose motor home was being burglarized saw Huffman's photo and death announcement in the newspaper and called police,[3] he was buried on Tuesday March 5, 1985 at Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills).

Villanueva was arrested on March 12 after a police officer recognized Villanueva from a composite sketch given to police by the Canadian tourist.[4][5] On June 24, 1986, Villanueva was sentenced to 26 years to life in prison for Huffman's murder, he was admitted to the California State Prison in Centinela [6] Huffman was set to begin work on the television miniseries North and South the following week.[5] On December 9, 2011, Genaro Villanueva was denied parole for 15 years.[7]

Broadway stage credits[edit]


Year Title Role Notes
1978 F.I.S.T. Abe Belkin
1978 Ice Castles Brian Dockett
1979 The Onion Field Dist. Atty. Phil Halpin
1980 Wolf Lake David
1980 Leo and Loree Dennis
1981 Blood Beach Harry Caulder
1981 St Helens David Jackson
1982 Firefox Captain Buckholz
1983 Last Plane Out Jim Conley
Year Title Role Notes
1973 Pueblo Seaman Television movie
1973 Love Story David Ross Episode: "Mirabelle's Summer"
1974 F. Scott Fitzgerald and 'The Last of the Belles' Andy McKenna Television movie
1974 The Yanks Are Coming Television movie
1974 Lincoln Ellmer Ellsworth Miniseries
1974 Police Story T. Byron Bentley Episode: "A Dangerous Age"
1974 Nakia Episode: "The Hostage"
1974 The Gun Wayne Television movie
1976 Eleanor and Franklin Elliott B. Roosevelt Television movie
1976 Baretta Jesse Bryant Episode: "The Blood Bond"
1976 Bert D'Angelo/Superstar Episode: "A Noise in the Street"
1976 Amelia Earhart Radio Operator Miniseries
1976 Look What's Happened to Rosemary's Baby Peter Simon Television movie
1976 Captains and the Kings Sean Armagh Miniseries
1977 Play of the Month Chadwick Newsome Episode: "The Ambassadors"
1977 Testimony of Two Men Harold Ferrier Miniseries
1977 In the Matter of Karen Ann Quinlan Paul Armstrong Television movie
1978 The Winds of Kitty Hawk Orville Wright Television movie
1979 Tom Edison: The Boy Who Lit Up the World Tom Edison Television movie
1979 Lou Grant Daniel Todson Episode: "Hype"
1980 Baby Comes Home Jeff Winston Television movie
1981 The Million Dollar Face Christopher Ward Television movie
1981 Sidney Shorr: A Girl's Best Friend Jimmy Television movie
1982 Little House on the Prairie Reverend Addison Hale Episode: "Alden's Dilemma"
1983 Jane Doe David Television movie
1983 Remington Steele Wilson Jeffries Episode: "Vintage Steele"
1983 Trapper John, M.D. Barry Laughton
Frank Maxwyn
2 episodes
1983 Sparkling Cyanide Stephan Farraday Television movie
1984 T. J. Hooker Dr. Don Travers Episode: "The Lipstick Killer"
1984 The Mississippi Harley Morhaim Episode: "Going Back to Hannibal"
1984 Newhart Ted Kingston Episode: "Cats"
1984 When She Says No Carl Jerome Television movie
1984 Children in the Crossfire Larry Malone Television movie, (final film role)


  1. ^ Blank, Ed (May 29, 1985). "10 Actors Get Multiple Roles at The Public". The Pittsburgh Press. p. D4. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Damsker, Matt; Weintraub, Daniel M. (March 1, 1985). "Actor's Stabbing Death in Park Mystifies Co-Workers, Officials". Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Harris, Scott; Reza, H.G. (March 14, 1985). "Huffman's Slaying: Strangers Cross Paths and Tragedy Strikes". latimes.com. pp. 1–2. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  4. ^ "Youth, 16, Held in Death of Actor David Huffman". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 14, 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Youth arrested in actor's murder". Reading Eagle. March 13, 1985. p. 32. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  6. ^ "Teen Sentenced In Actor's Slaying". Reading Eagle. June 3, 1986. p. 3. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  7. ^ "San Diego County District Attorney 2011 Annual Report". San Diego County District Attorney. Retrieved September 17, 2013.

External links[edit]